After years of delays and lawsuits, the Securities and Exchange Commission will meet Friday morning to debate whether it is ready to propose a new rule that requires publically traded oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose payments made to governments for extraction rights.
There is good reason if you feel a sense of déjà vu upon reading that.
The Dodd-Frank Act, in Section 1504, required that the SEC issue that aforementioned rule by April 17, 2011. When the SEC did finally get around to it in 2012, it was legally challenged by the American Petroleum Institute and ultimately vacated by the U.S. District Court.
In September 2014, Oxfam America sued the SEC for “unlawfully withholding” the rewritten final rule and, in September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered the SEC to produce an “expedited schedule” detailing when the agency planned to issue the rule. In turn, the Commission pledged to have a rewritten rule that finalized on or before June 27, 2016. If a proposed rule is agreed upon during the Dec. 11 meeting, the big questions are whether the SEC can stick to that timetable, how it addresses past legal concerns pertaining to compelled speech and perceived violations of the Administrative Procedures Act, and whether there will be another round of legal battles.